Health official: Ebola in Uganda is under control

KAMPALA, Uganda (HPD) — The Ebola outbreak in Uganda is under control, a top health official in Africa said Thursday, as local authorities are doing a good job of tracing most contacts.

“The situation is not getting out of control,” said Dr. Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have good visibility of all contacts.”

About 98% of the 2,694 documented contacts — people exposed to Ebola by a confirmed patient — are under observation, Ogwell said. “What we know about the evolution of this particular outbreak is comforting,” he added.

Tracing contacts is crucial to curbing the spread of contagious diseases like Ebola.

Uganda declared an outbreak of the Sudanese strain of Ebola on September 20. The epicenter is a rural community in the center of the country, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the capital, Kampala.

The outbreak has spread to Kampala in recent days after several sick people sought medical attention in the capital. Among the at least 15 confirmed cases in the city there are six children who attend three different schools, the Health Minister said on Wednesday, raising fears of new infections.

There is no licensed vaccine for the Sudanese strain of Ebola, but two vaccine candidates are expected to be tested in clinical trials that officials say will begin within days.

This outbreak of the disease, which manifests itself as viral hemorrhagic fever, has so far infected 109 people and killed 30, including four health workers.

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